Studies in the Relations between Politics and Culture in Polish History
Edited By Jacek Soszyński and Agnieszka Chamera-Nowak
Papal Plenitude of Power and World History: Papal Political Ideology in the Chronicle of Martin the Pole
Medievalists have long been puzzled by the popularity of the Chronicle of Popes and Emperors of Martin the Pole1. This phenomenon has been explained by the external characteristics of the work—the usefulness in scholarly and educational work of the synchronistic table arrangement employed by the author, which enabled quick access to historical facts and dates. This feature seemed all the more important, since the chronicle flourished at a time when good reference libraries were at best scarce.2 But this inference has a certain flaw. It fails to account for the collapse of the chronicle’s popularity in the fourteenth century. It is hardly credible that during the hundred years that followed Martin’s death better tabular chronicles appeared and replaced his masterpiece, or that reference libraries suddenly became widely available. True, many universal chronicles were written, but none came even near to the popularity of Martin’s. Still more puzzling is the fact that in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries there circulated re-workings of Martin’s chronicle under his name that by no means used the table layout, while still remaining quite popular.3
This article is a reworked version of the first two sections of chapter 3 of: J. Soszyński, Sacerdotium – imperium – studium. Władze uniwersalne w późnośredniowiecznych kronikach martyniańskich, [Sacerdotium—Imperium—Studium: Universal Powers in Late Medieval Chronicae Martinianae] Warsaw, 2006, 91–133. ← 45 | 46 →
There must have been some other factor that made the Chronicle of Popes and Emperors immediately acceptable,...
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